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Ear to the Ground

Olbermann Outperforms Trash Media

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Posted on Dec 2, 2006
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Keith Olbermann’s synthesis of in-depth Murrow-esque reporting and hard-hitting opinionated analysis has attracted a growing audience and turned the O’Reilly model on its head.  The Nation magazine has a profile of broadcast journalism’s rising star.


The Nation:

Since his first Special Comment ripped into Donald Rumsfeld for attacking Americans who question their government, video clips and transcripts of Olberman’s commentaries have been zipping around the Internet, a favorite on sites like Crooks and Liars, Truthout and YouTube. (The Rumsfeld commentary was watched more than 100,000 times in the month after it appeared on Countdown.) But it’s not just a niche following: Since late August Olbermann’s ratings have shot up 55 percent. In November he was named a GQ Man of the Year. When MSNBC teamed him with Chris Matthews to cover the midterms, the network’s ratings were up 111 percent from the 2002 election in the coveted 25-to-54 demographic. And certain fifteen-minute segments on Olbermann’s show have edged out his nemesis, Bill O’Reilly. (Olbermann deems O’Reilly the “Worst Person in the World” on his popular nightly contest for the newsmaker who’s committed the most despicable act of the day.) Unlike O’Reilly, Olbermann doesn’t shout over his guests, condescend to his opponents or deliver empty diatribes. Instead, his show—which attracts guests ranging from Frank Rich to John Ashcroft—features in-depth interviews with prominent academics, public officials and journalists on serious, often overlooked events of the day.

“Keith is a refreshing change from most of the coverage of civil liberties since 9/11,” says Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor and frequent guest on Olbermann’s show. “Reporters tend to view these fights in purely political terms, so the public gets virtually no substantive analysis. As long as two people disagree, reporters treat it as an even debate. They won’t say that the overwhelming number of constitutional and national security experts say this is an unlawful program—they’ll just say experts disagree. It’s extremely misleading.”

Olbermann, who denies any partisan leanings and whose background doesn’t suggest any, insists his job is to report on what’s really going on—even if the public is loath to believe it. “We are still fundamentally raised in this country to be very confident in the preservation of our freedoms,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s very tough to get yourself around the idea that there could be a mechanism being used or abused to restrict and alter the society in which we live.” Olbermann credits sportscasting for his candid and historical-minded approach. “In sports, if a center-fielder drops the fly ball, you can’t pretend he didn’t,” he says. “There’s also an awareness of patterns, a relationship between what has gone before and what is to come that is so strong in sports coverage that doesn’t seem to be there in news reporting.”

If history lessons in prime time seem an unlikely sell, it helps that Olbermann’s show is also witty, quirky and fast-paced, covering everything from the Iraq War to Madonna’s adoption fiasco to pumpkin-smashing elephants—one of his nightly fifteen-second Oddball segments. With a growing number of TV viewers saying they get their news from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, it’s no wonder Olbermann—who’s sort of a cross between Edward R. Murrow and Jon Stewart—has a growing audience.

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By RS Janes, December 14, 2006 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hondo, you’re pathetic. I used your own words,

“In fact, Iraq is not in a civil war. A civil war is when different factions within a country rise up against each other in war.”

and you accuse me of making things up and then change the subject to something marginal. In the real world that exists outside your buzzing brain, you lost any true debate because you couldn’t prove logically and reasonably any of your assertions. The rest is just irrelevant persiflage—personal attacks and bluster, just as Jesus, no doubt, would have approved. Or, at least, your benighted conception of Jesus. (Read the Sermon on the Mount, Hondo.)

Bukko, you speak words of wisdom, Hondo is not worth the waste of time and is obviously “impervious to logic.”

We should count ourselves lucky that we aren’t related to him in any way—just think what his family goes through either trying to ignore him or attempting to dispel his delusions of grandeur.

As Tom Paine once wrote: “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, is like administering medicine to the dead.”

Or, in Hondo’s case, the brain dead.

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By Hondo, December 12, 2006 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Manan, I appreciate your concern, but it is misplaced. Here are the facts. I asked for anyone reading this post to send me one example of Olbermann saying anything that had ever turned out to be true. In response I received lots of personal attacks, but no direct answers to my question. That’s typical of liberals. Finally, Janes responded with his declaration about a civil war. I provided proof that he was wrong. Janes responded by saying that my facts were irrelevent because they didn’t match his view of reality. That’s also typical of liberals. Now you respond with another personal attack. Let’s sum up what has happened, shall we? 99% of liberals refused to even attempt to debate me, realizing, I’m sure, that they had no ammo to fight with. Then one lone wolf liberal tried to debate me, but was defeated, not by me personally, but by the facts. This brave lone wolf then said, “Screw the facts! The sky is pink in my world!” That’s where we stand so far. Since nobody has been able to answer my question (and I knew they wouldn’t) I will leave here and go to other parts of truthdig in search of intelligent life. Good bye.

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By manan, December 11, 2006 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This Hondo guy seems to have had a few neuronal connections that have come loose. I mean, what can you say of someone who can’t add up two and two? Nothing. You just pity the guy.

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By Hondo, December 11, 2006 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Janes, I must confess that I am absolutely fascinated by the twists and turns of the liberal mind. I stated a fact concerning Syria and Iran that proved my point. You responded by basically saying that my facts don’t matter because they dispute the psuedo-reality that you have created for yourself. Fascinating! Liberalism is truly a disease, isn’t it? I hope you will seek help!
Bukko is an interesting case, as well. He believes that it’s OK for terrorists to murder American children because, well, they are Americans. He believes that American self defense is genocide. Fascinating! I think a person could make millions studying this mental disorder called liberalism!

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By B ukko in Australia, December 10, 2006 at 7:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Janes, you’re wasting your time if you want to debate Hondo here. He’s a devotee of Rush Limpballs, and is as thick as they come. He’s not exactly a troll, because he responds instead of hitting and running, but he’s impervious to logic. I’ve been watching him post here for months, but I thought he’d given up on it after the election. I even stopped snarking at him on his blog because I thought he’d done us all a favour and gone away. If you want to see what Hondo is all about, his blog can be found at ChristianConservatives.blogspot.com He’s the kind of Christian who writes posts saying that America should drop nuclear weapons on Damascus and Tehran. Yes, a follower of Genocide Jesus…

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By RS Janes, December 9, 2006 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hondo, your less-than-sparkling brilliance and your masochism amaze me.

Whether Syria and Iran are supplying weapons to the Sunnis and Shia (they are) is immaterial to this statement you made:

“In fact, Iraq is not in a civil war. A civil war is when different factions within a country rise up against each other in war.”

In fact, the Sunni and Shia are two separate factions warring with each other. You yourself called that a civil war, and Olbermann said Iraq was in a civil war months ago. Case closed, you lose.

I realize you are trying to weasel on your bet; I expect this from neocons, as well as your overblown sense of your own capacity.

I’ll keep this short and easy for you to understand—I don’t waste my time bothering to debate blowhards who can’t keep up with their own logic—or lack of it.

Next time, light a candle in the cave.

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By Hondo, December 8, 2006 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RS Janes—-Ask the wizard for a brain, liberal scarecrow! What is it with liberals that you are so blind and ignorant to plain old truth? The Iraq Study Group wrote extensively about the involvement of Iran and Syria in the insurgency in Iraq. You should read that, assuming, of course, that you can read.
You can debate me on this issue if you wish, but you have to understand that a debate with me is a step up into the big leagues. I will not let you get away with all of that untruthful liberal tripe that passes for informed commentary on this site.
By the way, I’m still waiting for somebody, anybody, to name one single thing Osama Olbermann has said that proved to be accurate. Time is running out—I’m getting bored waiting for an answer!

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By RS Janes, December 7, 2006 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“In fact, Iraq is not in a civil war. A civil war is when different factions within a country rise up against each other in war.”

Hondo, you’re plainly out of your right-leaning tree. The Sunnis and Shiites are two distinct factions that are warring against each other—even the Pentagon says that violence spurred by operators outside the country amount to only 3 percent of the fighting.

Before you shoot your mouth off here, you should probably do some research about how Iraq came into existence (start during World War One) and the endless blood feuds between the Sunnis and Shiites. You know as much about the region and the culture as your ignorant president.

With most major news organizations in the US and the world now calling the situation in Iraq a civil war, it’s a civil war.

Pay up, deadbeat, and stop wasting people’s time reading your ill-informed commentary.

Speaking of rightie time-wasters:

Keith Sux, glad you brought up another guy who has been consistently correct about the Iraq disaster—Michael Moore. It must grate you to no end that all of these people you no doubt dismissed as ‘fringe liberal nuts’ have been right all along about BushCo and the disastrously incompetent government they’ve unleashed on this country and the world.

It must also be galling to you that a majority of Americans now agree with the opinions of Olbermann and Moore about Bush and the Iraq occupation and Olbermann’s ratings are soaring while O’Reilly tumbles.

If you’re going to try and insult these two, come up with something more original and humorous than this tripe you posted. (Maybe you can cop something over at Freeper, although they’re a little shell-shocked these days.) If you’re going to be a right-wing jerk, be a P.J. O’Rourke about it. At least he’s entertaining.

Not that I want to rub it in, but hand me the salt (and the pliers, for you Firesign Theater fans).

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By Hondo, December 6, 2006 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I asked if anyone could name one thing that Comrade Olbermann has ever said that has ever been proven true. Only one of you liberal wingnuts even attempted to respond to that, and that was RS Janes. RS, you said that Olbermann stated months ago that Iraq was in a civil war. I’m still waiting for you to name something that Olbermann said that was true. In fact, Iraq is not in a civil war. A civil war is when different factions within a country rise up against each other in war. That isn’t happening in Iraq. Syria and Iran are financing and assisting in an insurgency within Iraq, and that’s a very different thing. Clearly you don’t know anymore than the failed sportscaster.

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By Keith sux bad, December 5, 2006 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Moderator stop being a coward and post opposing comments, get a spine and stop being a liberal weeny.

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By Keith sux bad, December 5, 2006 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Keith used to be a bad geeky sports commentator that somehow morphed into Michael Moore as well as being a closet Muslim and a huge liberal cry baby.  Prepare to bow to Mecca 5 times daily all you left wing Olbermann clones.

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By RS Janes, December 4, 2006 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hondo, Olbermann said Iraq was in a civil war and a complete disaster months ago. He added that Rumsfeld’s remedies for the situation wouldn’t work, and they haven’t. His IQ is also well above that of the average hamster. Send the hundred bucks to Vets For Peace, since there is no Al Gore Sci-Fi Movie Club.

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By L. W., December 3, 2006 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We enjoy Mr. Olbermann’s observations, commentaries, features and consistently articulate, astute analysis of national and world events. He could drop the stories about movie stars. The Worst Person in the World feature is witty and enjoyable, as is the Oddball segment. He has the best news show on TV currently.

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By Geoff B., December 3, 2006 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Winterfire6 is disappointed that “the best journalist on TV news” is an ex-sportscaster.  How did she feel (if she is old enough to remember) when we elected an ex-sportscaster as President two times in the ‘80’s?

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By Susan, December 3, 2006 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Keith Olbermann is one of the best on cable news, particularly for his commentary that blasts the abuses of power that the righties foolishly think is strength that will protect them from the bad guys.  Grow up. Unless you have rove or cheney’s cell number on your speed dial, you’re in more danger from your own government than ‘terist’ actions.
Think HUGE data bases and one typo, your ass in jail. Know what ‘habeius corpus” is? No lawyer, no phone call, WAKE UP !!

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By mite, December 3, 2006 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I admire anyone who reports information outside regular media propaganda. I would suggest we patriots of this republic gather information now; as this form of communication from Keith Olbermann, Internet, and other sources will soon be put to rest under the control of the Gestopo.

Keith Olbermann made a statement ” there could be a mechanism being used or abused to restrict and alter the society in which we live.”

Well that mechanism will celebrate its 93rd birthday on December 23, 2006- The Federal Reserve Act of 1913, and a few months later the Internal Revenue Service will celebrate its birthday 1914. http://www.educate-yourself.org [The Truth About the Federal Reserve Bank] and [IRS];
illegally passed by Congress {16th Amendment}never ratified by any state of this Republic.

If there is any thing the people of this U.S. must explore- read the above information. We have been deceived for all these years.

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states that Congress shall have the power to coin (create) money and regulate the value thereof.
Our Congress has known about this for years, and ever time someone in Congress try’s to end this lie they are over ruled.

The U.S. citizens need to be enlightened about this and to help you learn please research the web sites: http://www.givemeliberty.org http://www.originalintent.org http://www.taxableincome.net
One idividual ‘s web site was shut down because he was educating employer’s and employee’s about the IRS lie. http://www.nite.org Larken Rose did some really in-depth research of the IRS tax code- guess what taxes are voluntary not required by their own tax code.

Hey Keith you really want to start a investigation into this evil ruleing class of elitists, check out this comment on Truthdig.org

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By Marty Didier, December 3, 2006 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I look forward to watching Keith Olberman especially when Jonathan Turley is on.  They seem to get to cut through the insanity well enough to explain what REALLY is happening without really saying it!  Turley has a way of explaining something that without really saying what it is, explains enough so the rest of us really understand what it is.  Truth Dig’s part in making a web version possible has been helpful too.

You guys are doing a Good Job!  Please keep up the good work!

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By O'Brien, December 3, 2006 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Attention Comrades,
Please visit http://ministryoflove.wordpress.com to learn about our creative protest agains the Military Commissions Act.  We are sending a copy of 1984 to every Congressperson who voted for it.
Regards,
O’Brien

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By Freedem, December 3, 2006 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Even aside from the lack of actual facts these past few years, I have been increasingly struck by the mealy mouth ignorance of all the talking heads of the MSM, both “news people” as well as politicians.

Olbermann is like a breath of fresh air in a smoke filled room, not only articulate (recently describing Newt’s recent speech as “an arsonist at a Fireman’s memorial” hitting exactly the right tone, better than my “Rev Phelps addressing a gay pride day”) but showing a very deep knowledge about almost everything, not only hauling out obscure references but explaining them well as he went.

I remember (barely) Ed Murrow, and while he also was no Partisan to ideology he was an extreme partisan to Reality and the Truth. If, as Mr. Colbert has pointed out, the truth has a definite liberal bias, it is only because the other side has completely abandoned it.

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By RL GEAR, December 3, 2006 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hondo
You wouldn’t make a pimple on olbermanns butt, why don’t you use that 100$ to buy some more of that stuff you have been smoking?

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By subhub, December 3, 2006 at 10:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I, too, have been grateful for Olbermann over the past few months. As to his popularity, I gave him the geek test, an unscientific measure of a show’s popularity among the young, internet savvy set. Straight to mininova dot org and Demonoid dot com and of course, the notorious Piratebay dot org looking for torrent activity. The Daily Show will have thousands of active downloads, Olbermann has only a handful. But I will keep watching and we will see if he catches on….

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By Free Radical, December 3, 2006 at 8:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey, “hondo”
Here is some more of the same The Nation article:
“Not surprisingly, Olbermann has his critics. National Review recently lambasted him for his “angry and increasingly bizarre attacks on the Bush administration,” claiming that he offers nothing in the way of hard news. But the author didn’t cite a single fact that Olbermann had wrong. Meanwhile, as the Review acknowledged, O’Reilly’s numbers are trending downward as Olbermann’s are shooting up.”
I would bet anything love O’Reilly’s reactionary dribble.
If Olberman is a “comrade” I would recommend to you to get fitted for a brown shirt. Sieg heil to you.

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By Ken Mitchell, December 3, 2006 at 4:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hondo must be an O’Reilly admirer. He seems to be saying that what he claims Olbermann is, is what we know O’Reilly really is. Olbermann tells the truth. O’Reilly lies. O’Reilly’s idea of a rebuttal is to tell the interviewee to shut up. Hondo must also think that the John Birch Society is an ultra leftist organization. He can have his neocon liars. I’ll take Olbermann any day.

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By Joe Garcia, December 3, 2006 at 3:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t know how long MSM will put up with Kenneth—look where Rather is now.  He should be given a Sunday show a la “Meet the Press,” but Russert is bought and paid for…

http://garart.org
Democratic political consultant e-zine
This month:
Darfur, Art & Abu Ghraib, Censorship & Faith

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By Hondo, December 2, 2006 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Keith Olbermann is a failed sportscaster with the IQ of a retarded hamster. If you can show me anything that Comrade Olbermann has said that has been PROVEN true, I’ll donate $100 to the Al Gore Sci-Fi Movie Makers Club.

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By RUSSELL LUSHER, December 2, 2006 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve been waiting for an anchor man to show a little spine, and stop “hinting” that Bush and his mob were, mistaken?, don’t have their facts right?, were possibly, not thinking straight?
  Finally, Olberman shows up and actually voiced his opinion that this administration was simply a pack of out and out liers! Something we all knew a long time ago, but couldn’t find any one in the mainstream media with enough courage to stand up against these Facsists.
  Thank you Mr. Olberman.

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By Dorrie, December 2, 2006 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Winterfire6, you say, “it does say a lot, none of it good, about the state of our nation, that the best journalist on TeeVee news is an ex-sportscaster.”

On the contrary, paragraph 3 in the article from the Nation, above, explains the BENEFITS of being a former sportscaster when it comes to preparing a news show. I’ve been saying this for as long as I’ve been watching Olbermann on Countdown!

Not only does the sports analysis approach impose a pitiless brand of objectivity, it’s also possible that reporting scores in rapidfire fashion may have been instrumental in honing Keith’s beautiful diction!

-Dorrie-

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By Roger B, December 2, 2006 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To the radical right ofjective, balanced reporting will appear biased. Everything is simple to those who have only one model or mode of thought with which to think about issues. Olbermann is a refreshing alternative.

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By joe lombardi, December 2, 2006 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Keith is right on the money.  His commentary is some of the best on any media.  He ought to consider expanding to talk radio to counter some of the rabid ‘hate radio’ that one hears on ABC day in and day out.

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By winterfire6, December 2, 2006 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Keith Olberman has been a God-send and a light in the darkness these past months.

However, it does say a lot, none of it good, about the state of our nation, that the best journalist on TeeVee news is an ex-sportscaster.

Unfortunately, many of our fellow citizens only believe what they see on TeeVee and honestly believe they are getting the “news.” They would rather take a beating than read a newspaper. Kinda scary, if you ask me, which, of course, no one did.

It gives me great pleasure that Keith is doing so well in the ratings. I hope everyone continues to watch and flood MSNBC with emails praising him to the highest.

I have to admit that I take pleasure in the fact that he gets under O’Liely’s skin. LOL

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